A ghost story, a suspense/thriller, a mystery, a love story all rolled into one – A Reason to Believe by Diana Copland is a story that is captivating and intriguing from the beginning to the very end.
When Detective Matthew Bennett was called to a case of a missing six-year-old on Christmas Eve, the last thing he expected was to have the ghost of that little girl lead him to her body. Forced to take administrative leave after trying to explain the events to his superiors, Matt is confused by what he’s seen and unable to get the murdered little girl out of his mind. On the recommendation of his best friend and sister-in-law, Sheila, he reluctantly agrees to visit renowned medium Kiernan Fitzpatrick.
After Kiernan is visited by a deceased girl’s spirit, he seeks out Matt, the detective the little girl spoke of, and offers his services in order to help find the killer. Still on an extended administrative leave and removed from the case, Matt finds it hard to walk away from the investigation and now a medium, who is either the real deal or an extremely good actor, has latched on as well. The further the two delve into the mysteries of Abby Reynolds’ death, the more dangerous their situation becomes.
After the death of his lover eighteen months ago, Matt isn’t sure he’s gotten over it, or if he even wants to. The mutual attraction between Matt and Kiernan is strong, though Matt is afraid to act on it. As their feelings for each other intensify, Matt reluctantly opens his heart to Kiernan. The more time they spend together, the stronger the attraction becomes. As the investigation gets even more dangerous, it becomes obvious that the killer has clued in to their investigation and has set his target on Matt and Kiernan.
A Reason to Believe is a tale of love and loss, and of joy and sadness. It’s the story of a man who lost the love of his life and felt that there was no reason to move on without him, only to have his perspective changed by a little girl who died far too early. It’s a wonderful, exciting, intriguing story that sucked me in immediately.
Matt is a pretty complex character. He’s broken and damaged, but he’s also strong and determined. He’s the man that fights for those who can’t fight for themselves. For Matt, this tale is one of growth, facing his fears, moving on, and finding something to believe in. Kiernan is a great character – so full of life. The man with a million different t-shirts that had me laughing out loud. He is what Matt’s life was missing. He’s energetic, open, and honest. Kiernan’s faith is very grounding for Matt.
The attraction and flirtation between Matt and Kiernan is more subtle at first, but becomes stronger and hotter as they spend more time together. They are a great match – Matt, who only believes in the things he can see and touch, and Kiernan, the man who talks to the dead and believes in things unseen. Their journey is cautious and supportive, but also heart-warming.
This world Copland has built is fantastic – a world where spirits communicate with the living for a purpose. The rules of the world are original and imaginative:
“When we die, there are usually two options available to us, because believe it or not, it is about choice. We either cross over, as in the whole go-into-the-light thing, or we choose not to.”
“There are generally two recognized kinds of hauntings. Residual and intelligent. Residual is more like an imprinting on the space. The spirit remains, doing what it always did, repeating scenes from their lives over and over. They aren’t aware of the passage of time, or the people who are there now. Intelligent is like Abby. They have a mission, a purpose, something they want to accomplish. They want to make contact, for whatever reason. Residual hauntings are much more common, frankly.”
It’s a world that I find quite wonderful and believable. It’s a world where reality meets spirituality. It’s poignant and beautiful.
The love story takes a back seat to the mystery for a good part of this book. That’s not to say there is no romance, because there is and it’s hot and delightful. But what brings Matt and Kiernan together is the mystery, the violent murder of a little girl that both are determined to solve. The mystery is suspenseful, exciting, and will keep you guessing. To be honest, I guessed the killer, but not for a while as there were several suspects. And the reasoning behind the murder was a surprise.
It’s a ghost story. It’s a murder mystery. It’s a suspense/thriller. It’s got action and adventure. And it is a love story. A story about new beginnings. A story about faith. A story about trust. A Reason to Believe by Diana Copland is all of those things and more. I highly recommend it and can only hope that maybe, just maybe, I’ll get to see Matt and Kiernan in another story somewhere in the future.